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Breaking Through Culture Shock: What You Need to Succeed in International Business [Kindle Edition]

Elisabeth Marx
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

What makes some international managers successful while others struggle with basic tasks? If we are all so global nowadays, what makes some of us more "international" than others? When U.S. managers succeed in only 50% of their global work and UK managers only 14%, the answer lies not with the number of air-miles one clocks up on transatlantic flights or the technical excellence one brings to a job. Success with international teams entails managing culture shock.

In this new edition of the critically acclaimed Breaking Through Culture Shock: What You Need to Succeed in International Business, Elisabeth Marx provides a practical guide to managing the emotional, cognitive and social facets of participating in international cyber-teams and long-term assignments in other countries. Drawing on the experiences of more than two hundred managers from around the world and in-depth interviews with 6 leaders like Edward Dolman of Christie's, Peter Job of Reuters and Win Bischoff of Schroders and Citigroup Europe, Marx explains the many layers and types of culture, providing steps to both businesses and individuals to cope with and conquer culture-related stress. With instructive scenarios and quizzes to test your knowledge, Marx offers positive and practical business advice to those who want to succeed working in international business.

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Marx defines culture shock as "the experience of foreignness," and calls it both an occupational hazard and an opportunity. She sees its effects in her work as director of international consultancy for the executive search firm Norman Broadbent Selection. She also experienced it firsthand when, as a psychologist, she went to Britain to complete her postgraduate studies. Designed as a "self-coaching guide," Marx's book examines the phenomenon of culture shock as she details the three sides of the "culture shock triangle": emotions, thinking, and social skills and identity. She offers coping strategies for moving from euphoria to depression to contentment, from stereotyping to culturally effective thinking, and from national to transnational social skills and an international identity. Marx also outlines practical steps one can take to further a successful international career, summarizing characteristics of the world's main business cultures and considering the impact on one's personal life and family. David Rouse

About the Author

Elisabeth Marx is a partner at Heidrick & Struggles and specializes in top team effectiveness, board consulting and assessment, focusing on international teams and cross-cultural management. Dr. Marx lectures extensively and is also a consultant at INSEAD's Global Leadership Center. She studied psychology at the University of Marburg (Germany), earned her Doctorate at Oxford University, and was previously a lecturer in psychology at the National University of Singapore.

Product Details

  • File Size: 928 KB
  • Print Length: 258 pages
  • Publisher: Nicholas Brealey Publishing (July 12, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005CI9GCS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,496,116 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
A good blend of work experiences by people from all over the world with emphasis on identifying the "best practices" of preparing, working and returning from an overseas work assignment. Especially effective was the analysis of the psychological aspects of life in other countries/cultures, which included comprehensive views from both the worker and their families perspectives. Overall, the book was a fairly effective in helping me to prepare for my recent overseas long-term work assignment.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breaking down invisible barriers to success. March 19, 2002
Despite the praise for this book from a senior partner in Arthur Andersen which graces the first page of the text, this is an excellent management text.
As an ex Englishman near New York, one of the surprising things to learn, and thus the point of this book, is that cultural differences can affect us and our work performances.
It is often said that Britain and America are separated by a common language but this does not really convey the full extent of the differences between the two nations. The situation is made more difficult by the fact that American culture has established a hedgemony around the world and particularly so in the UK.
This book is a must read for anyone accepting a post in a foreign country and anyone relocating abroad. Indeed some of the lessons of this book can be usefully applied to different jobs not just different countries.
I like the structure of the book and in particular the focus on the book as a tool to be used and not just read. The use of case studies is very helpful although I personally do not appreciate the manner in which they are written. I would have liked some of them at least to be expressed in a more formal manner with actual references to be used where possible but this is a minor gripe.
Breaking through Culture Shock is written in a very user friendly manner and in a size that is easily followed.
Elisabeth Marx really has hit the nail on the head with this text which has a broad scope great applicability across the continents. My one concern would be with Chapter 5 where she looks at some country specific cases but which excludes Japan. Given that country's importance to business in the world one would think that it warranted inclusion.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Insightful! April 30, 2001
Indonesians aren't punctual, but the Germans believe timeliness is a sign of respect. The French are well educated, but elitist. And, spouses and children don't always find living abroad to be a "grand experience." Those are just some of the things you'll learn from Dr. Elizabeth Marx, who explores why many managers have a horrible time abroad. To help improve your managerial experience overseas, she provides a 100-plus item checklist of what to do before you leave for a foreign country, including information on whether to sell your house or have your children inoculated. Her book tells the ambitious manager Everything You Always Wanted To Know About the International Experience but Were Afraid to Ask. For instance - and this isn't surprising considering her background in psychology - she tells corporations to provide psychological testing for employees before sending them to international posts. We [...] say read this before you plan your bon voyage party.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bit of a Jumble March 23, 2007
There are good elements in the book but, overall, it's a bit unrefinned and probably tries to cover too much in a superficial manner.

For example, the culture triangle is, in principle, a good way to consider the various facets of culture, and to understand where it might impact one's life, but is described using odd parts of grammar: Emotions are matched to thinking. Surely, emotions are to thoughts, or feeling is to thinking.

The analysis of culture is done much better by Craig Storti in "Figuring Foreigners Out", which presents a challenge to your perceptions and provides an opportunity to score yourself, and so assess your match to a particular culture.

The idea that Culture Shock lasts only 5-10 weeks (p7) is far too simplistic. I suspect this reflects a retreat into multi-national/expat community living. True adaption takes much longer - particularily if one is aquiring the native language. If you find yourself in this boat and are struggling to cope, then pick up Culture Shock by Myron Loss. It is an excellent treatment of cultural stress, and leads to a better understanding of the subject: its causes and its cures.
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